As the traditional start of the holiday season nears, I'd like to first say an early Happy Holidays to all. Second, I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone of those less fortunate.
This is the time when the safety nets of many begin to show wear. And, for most it is difficult to acknowledge that the cupboard may be nearly bare, or the heating bill is a month past due. Maybe it is due to unemployment or just underemployment. The important thing is to know that you're not alone and your fellow Village of Hempstead neighbors want to help.
Whether you are in need of assistance or simply want to help your Village of Hempstead neighbors, food pantries help bridge the gap.
Why is there such a push to help at this time of year? We want to be of service to others year-round, but the winter months bring special needs. It is colder and can feel bleaker, and, for some, everything is just a little harder: getting around, paying heating bills, buying groceries, keeping the lights on. So, the generosity of others is so much more needed. Even more important is that the need is greater. Covid-19 made manifest the very thin line between making it and not making it that exists for many. We'd like to encourage those in need to call or visit one of the food pantries that are ready to help. Below is a partial list of available pantries and their hours.
Food pantry at South Hempstead Baptish Church, 81 Maple Ave., open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday.
Community Action Program Food Distribution Center, 134 Jackson St., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
Mary Brennan Inn and Soup Kitchen, 100 Madison Ave., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday (bag lunches only); pantry available 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays
Iglesia Pentecostal De Hempstead, 600 Greenwich St., 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. Mondays
Union Baptist Church, 24 Clinton C. Boone Place, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays
If you're looking for a way to give back to the community, you also may contact these pantries and find out what goods they most need to get through the holidays. Many are always in need of staples such as pasta, rice, beans, peanut and other nut butters, jelly, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, canned meats such as chicken and tuna, cereals, juices, baby food, diapers, toiletries and pet food.
If you're more of a hands-on person, consider volunteering your time to the food pantry to help out. Just remember that Covid-19 restrictions apply.
Whether you're in need or want to help, just remember that you're not alone this holiday season. Don't be afraid to reach out, no matter what your need. And, a need to be with others is just as valid a need as the need for food or help with heating.
In short, we are all part of the family of the Village of Hempstead and join together to help one another.